June 12, 2018

Bye Bye Barberry!

Garden Bed Makeovers in Toronto's Wychwood neighbourhood


I can see why you would plant a Japanese Barberry (Berberis thunbergii) hedge to prevent or dissuade people from cutting across your lawn but on more than one occasion during my work visits, I see an ancient and prickly barberry just sitting there. Here are a couple of "specimens" I have the misfortune to prune occasionally:



Berberis thunbergii (Japanese Barberry) in a Toronto garden by garden muses--not another Toronto gardening blog
Berberis thunbergii (Japanese Barberry) 


Japanese barberry (Berberis thunbergii) in a Toronto garden by garden muses--not another Toronto gardening blog
Japanese barberry (Berberis thunbergii


There are so many other alternatives to choose from beside having a giant thorny purple blob greeting you and visitors (don't get too close though!) 365 days a year.

But we'll get to the barberry that was shovel-pruned a little later in this post. 

June for me is all about creating/remaking/re-organizing new gardens, transplanting and, of course, more weeding. It's a great time to be working outside as the temperatures and humidity levels are still, usually, civilized. 


The gardens covered here are in Toronto's Wychwood neighbourhood.  I met Maria, the client, a few months ago who expressed an interest to re-design her front and backyard gardens.

Below are some of the "before" pictures of the front raised bed:


by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Company new front garden perennial bed in Wychwood before
 A new front garden perennial 
bed in Wychwood before

The raised bed is about 10 feet long by 3 feet wide, faces west so receives full sun from mid-day onwards, has no automatic irrigation, and has a small tree in the middle.


New Wychwood Toronto front garden perennial bed Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Company
New Wychwood Toronto front 
garden perennial bed Before 

Obviously, the hosta is loving the location a little too much and is out of scale with the tiny bed. Other existing perennials include a nice clump of daylilies (unknown variety), a few coral bells (Heuchera hybrid) and a "dwarf" Cotoneaster. The remaining plants will be discarded.



by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Company new front makeover in Wychwood before
New front makeover in Wychwood before

Above is the view from the parking area. It's important to note that all the snow will be dumped on the garden during the winter so there's little point having shrubs here.




New front garden perennial bed in Wychwood before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Company
New front garden perennial 
bed in Wychwood before



Above is her view from the porch looking down.




New front garden makeover in Wychwood before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Company
New front garden makeover 
in Wychwood before 



And in the back, the barberry you've been waiting anxiously to see...




Wychwood Toronto new backyard perennial garden before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Company
Wychwood Toronto new backyard
 perennial garden before 



By Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Company new back garden makeover in Wychwood before
A new back garden 
makeover in Wychwood before

I think this picture gives you a better idea of the barberry's current size and location in the raised bed. Maria mentioned that she had another barberry (!) to the left of this one but was mercifully taken out before. I'm scratching my head, metaphorically, and ask why in the world would you plant barberries here. Sure, if you hate your neighbours and/or want to screen the view from seeing their junkyard of a backyard, a row of barberries is an excellent "F-You" horticultural statement but the neighbour's garden is actually very nice and Maria gets along with them so...WHY?




New Back garden perennial bed in Wychwood before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Company
New Back garden perennial 
bed in Wychwood before 



A mass grouping of small shrub roses. I like this arrangement and will try to keep most of them.



A new back garden makeover 
in Wychwood before

Above is the view looking towards the other end of the raised bed. There's a P.G. hydrangea and a small "Bloodgood" Japanese maple here. Frankly, the maple is planted way to close to the fence. I like the stonework though, the curve of the bed and the cute little sitting area. Nicely done, Mr./Ms. Contractor, with the raised bed!


Let's go back to the front, post-makeover:



by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Company new front garden perennial bed in Wychwood after
A new front garden perennial
 bed in Wychwood after

I re-used many existing plants like herbaceous peonies, dwarf Weigelas and coral bells but added many new sun-loving perennials like moss phlox, purple coneflowers and Dianthus.

I'm curious what colour the daylily flowers are once they bloom later in June. Nevertheless, lots of colour now for Maria and her neighbours to enjoy after the makeover. 



New front garden perennial bed in Wychwood after by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Company
New front garden perennial 
bed in Wychwood after


New Wychwood Toronto front garden perennial bed After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Company
New Wychwood Toronto front 
garden perennial bed After 



by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Company new front makeover in Wychwood after
A new front makeover 
in Wychwood after


New front garden makeover in Wychwood after by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Company
New front garden makeover 
in Wychwood after 


And in the back...



Wychwood Toronto new backyard perennial garden after by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Company
Wychwood Toronto new 
backyard perennial garden after

Removing the barberry is a bit like love-making: one approaches the object of desire tentatively and gingerly, wary of prickly defences and probing for weak and sensitive areas. A little more deft maneuvering with some vigorous rocking and heaving until satisfaction occurs: the root ball has been excavated.

The shrubs will grow taller than the fence, of course, but nowhere as tall, bulky and oppressive as the barberry. Again, I ask rhetorically, why would you want to obscure the neighbour's garden, given how nice it looks? You wouldn't, of course.



New Back garden perennial bed in Wychwood After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Company
New Back garden perennial 
bed in Wychwood After 

I kept most of the miniature roses behind the yellow Japanese Forest Grass as the roses add consistent colour throughout the summer.



New Backyard garden perennial bed in Wychwood After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Company
New Backyard garden perennial 
bed in Wychwood After 

I divided the massive clump of "Halcyon" hosta you saw in the front garden's "before" pictures and planted the six or seven divisions in the rear. Like most hostas, the "Halcyon" (I think) divisions make a good "filler" in my design. The hostas are not spectacular but useful in creating a mass of silvery-blue leaves. 


By Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Company new back garden makeover in Wychwood after
A new back garden 
makeover in Wychwood after


And here's the view looking down the bed. There's a mixture of the common (e.g., bigleaf and P.G. hydrangeas) and not-so common like Japanese Forest Grass and Fothergilla shrubs.

This was a cute little garden makeover, compensation for the previous parking pad cleanup!